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WILLIAM  VOK   HUMBOIJDT.                   307
" be useful ? And How could a man of such high, intel-
lectual attainments as Htunlboldt spend Ms leisure
better than in seeing the men and manners of diffe-
rent countries, and in increasing his knowledge and
experience. Indeed, these wanderings abroad -were
of great service to Hurnboldt. In studying the nations
of southern Europe, and the remnants of classical an-
tiquity, he expanded his views of the past and of
humanity in general. Besides., his innate talent for
languages developed itself, not so much by intercourse
"with the various nations, as by the linguistic treasures
in which Paris and Home abound. And, finally, these
years formed the practical man—the statesman who
was to become eminent by his knowledge, practice,,
and skilL We may imagine what a residence in Rome
and amid Roman scenery must have been to such, a
sensitive mind as Humboldt's, even, without the un-
equivocal testimony which we have in Ms letters,
We saw how Ms plan of proceeding to Italy with
his whole family was frustrated by the warlike events.
He therefore went to Paris, and we have shown how
he cultivated his interest for German art and science
even here, surprising his friends in Weimar and Jena
•with his compendious contribution to art-philosophy.
We must now inquire into the circumstances of Ms
Paris life, and see "what men there enjoyed Ms
intimacy.
Humboldt arrived in Paris for the second time in
Ms life in the autumn of 1797- To Mm "who had
seen the French nation in ife enthusiasm for liberty
in the first days of the revolution, the place may,
spite of the changes it had undergone, not have had
the same attraction at this period of temporary ex-
haustion, although Ms interest must have remained
the same. But as few communications from Mm.
during his second visit to Paris are on record, we can
only quote some letters from Ms wife written to
various friends. She writes to lier friend Rahel
Levin, in Berlin, on the 25th May, 1798;—** Paris is
the town in which you ought to reside; which you
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